Your amazing brain is a problem solving machine. But, often I hear my clients say, “I’m just so in my head.” Sometimes it can feel like our amazing brains aren’t working for our benefit. Rest assured, they always are. Whether you are a preparing missionary, a currently serving missionary, or a returned missionary…
Listen in to learn:
•3 things it’s NOT useful to do when your brain gets spinning
•Why your amazing brain, whether we understand it logically or not, ALWAYS offers you thoughts it believes to be useful
•3 fun analogies to use when it feels like your brain is running on negative auto-pilot
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0:00 Hey, What is up everyone? It’s Jennie Dildine, the LDS mission coach and you’re listening to the LDS mission Podcast, episode number 64. Your amazing brain. Hey, I’m Jennie, the LDS mission coach. And whether you’re preparing to serve a mission, currently serving a returned missionary or a missionary mama like me, I created this podcast just for you. Are you searching for epic confidence? Ready to love yourself and to learn the how of doing hard things? Then let’s go. I will help you step powerfully into your potential and never question your purpose. Again. It’s time to embrace yourself. Embrace your mission, embrace your life, and embrace what’s next. Hey, everybody, welcome to the podcast, I am so excited that you are hanging out with me today. I love that we get together here and we talk about some of our favorite people, the missionaries, and our returned missionaries, they sacrifice a big part of their lives to share the message of our Savior, Jesus Christ. And what it means if you’re here, and if you’re sharing this podcast, and if you’re implementing this podcast is that you know the importance of your mental and emotional well being. And this is becoming more important than ever on the mission. So I’m excited you’re here. I’m excited that your mental and emotional well being matter to you. Because what I’ve kind of found right is that when our mental and emotional well being isn’t in check, it’s a lot harder to show up as the kind of person or the kind of missionary that we want to be not impossible, but it does make it more challenging. So let’s get more help and more tools out to more missionaries. I want to remind you, that Facebook, I used to host my podcast on Facebook, and Facebook isn’t hosting podcasts anymore, which is totally fine. And I say this every week, Facebook gets to do what they want. And I love Facebook for the tool that it is to bring people to Christ. In fact, my son who served his mission in the New Hampshire Manchester mission, he actually they had so much success with Facebook as a tool for missionary work. Anyway, he part of his homecoming talk actually addressed this and just said how amazing of a tool it can be. So that’s pretty awesome. But all of that aside, because Facebook is not hosting my podcast anymore, or any podcast anymore. What I’m doing is I’m offering my podcast to missionaries who want to listen on a Google Drive. So if you’re a mom listening to this, and you’re like, hey, I really like the stuff that Jennie is teaching and I think it can help my missionary. Just send me an email Jennie at Jennie dildine.com, and say, Hey, I’d really liked the podcast for my missionary and I can totally hook you up and help you get set up with that. Remember, Jenny’s always spelled with an I II. So what else is happening in our world schools kind of getting into full swing again, all of us are kind of mourning the way that summer is slipping away. Although we’ve had high enough temperatures that it definitely still feels like summer, I’ve still been eking out every single bit of summer that I can we do have a swimming pool. And usually by this time in the season, the floaties are just like trashed and have holes in them and all kinds of stuff. But it’s been so hot. I just got me on Amazon. I love me and Amazon order and was like okay, I guess we need some floaties I think we need a few more because it looks like these hot temperatures are going to keep going. So we’ve been enjoying that. Those new floaties
4:22 today, I want to talk to you about your amazing brain. And what kind of precipitated this podcast was a bunch of sessions that I had with a bunch of different clients this week, returned missionary clients, a service missionary, a preparing missionary. I had a bunch of clients this week and I was teaching them about their brain software. Now if you want to learn more or have a deeper dive about your brain software Where, and the way that your brain works, you could go all the way back to episode two. Okay? But I’m just gonna give you a quick recap about how your brain works. And then this week, talking with my clients, we came up with some really fun analogies that I want to share with you today. So there are three things that your brain is always trying to accomplish. Okay, your brain is always 100% of the time trying to seek pleasure, avoid pain, and conserve energy. And sometimes clients will get on a session, and they’ll be like, Oh, I’m just so in my head about everything. And what I want to say is, yeah, like the rest of us, okay, our brains, this is something super interesting for you to know, is your brain can’t differentiate between physical pain and emotional pain. So I was talking to one client this week, who was getting ready to do something kind of hard and was feeling a lot of pressure to make a decision by a certain time. And I was like, listen to your brain, the emotional pain that we might feel after we make that decision actually feels like someone’s about to push us off a cliff. So to your brain, Pain is pain. It doesn’t matter if it’s emotional, it doesn’t matter if it’s sadness, like emotional pain. Or if it’s physical pain, like a stomach ache to your brain, it’s going to avoid it at all cost. Okay? So your brain is always trying to do these three things, seek pleasure, avoid pain, and conserve energy. There are a couple of things that are amazing about your brain. It knows how to keep you alive. Your brain is also like, the most complicated computer, it is able to create things, it’s able to figure stuff out, it’s able to think about the future, it is able to make connections with people. And I like to believe my brain is my biggest asset. My brain is amazing. It keeps me alive. It keeps me safe, it keeps me moving forward. But sometimes when we get in our head, it might be hard to believe that our brain is very amazing. Sometimes, our brain can feel like it’s like on us in a few different ways. It’s trying to point out all the problems, or it’s judging us or whatever else is going on. Okay. And I want to talk about some of the things that are not useful to do with your amazing brain. Because it is amazing. And it’s a gift from our heavenly parents, so that we can create the life that we want. One of my favorite children’s songbook songs says, He gave me my life, my mind and my heart. I think him reverently. So isn’t it amazing to think that to create the exact life that we want, Heavenly Father gave us everything we need. And it’s not anything outside of us. It’s all stuff that is in sight of us. Okay, so we’re going to talk about three things, it’s not useful to do with our amazing brain. Number one, it’s not useful to try to control it, or reason with it. And I’m going to share an analogy with you in just a second. Number two, it is not useful to judge our brain or the thoughts it’s offering us. I’m going to share an analogy with you about that as well.
9:19 And number three, it is not useful to push away the sentences that our brain offers us. So I like to think of our brain as a problem solving machine. And it gets to be in charge of looking at our surroundings and deciding what’s kind of off and how can we fix it. That’s its job. But sometimes if that gets a little bit on, checked or out of check, I can create problems for us. So sometimes what we hear is, Well, let’s just do number one, let’s just control our brain to not think For those thoughts that might be problematic thoughts, like, maybe I’m not a good missionary, or thoughts like, I’m not good enough, or thoughts like this, this could be dangerous emotionally. Okay? It’s not useful to try to control your brain. In fact, one of the first things I do with my clients is, we start to eliminate the word control from our vocabulary. Because your brain is just going to run on autopilot, gonna do the best it can to problem solve. And it’s going to offer you thoughts and sentences in order to do that. So this idea that we have to control, it kind of insinuates that there’s something wrong. It also insinuates that we even have the ability to do that. Now, don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying that we don’t have power over our thinking or power over our thoughts we do. But to control them feels a little bit different. The other thing that it’s not useful to do is to try to reason with our brain. At times, I was working with one client this week, who was telling me that she kept having the thought it’s going to be so hard to say goodbye to my family, she’s getting ready to leave on her mission in a few weeks. And her brain would offer this thought and what she started doing was she was trying to control it.
11:43 And that control sort of sounded like I don’t want to think that that’s gonna be too hard to think that. And the other thing she was trying to do was to reason with her brain when her brain would be like, it’s gonna be so hard to say goodbye to your family, she’d be like, No, but we’re also going to be having, like an amazing experience on our mission. So it’s okay, what we do is we sort of get into a tug of war with our brain when we try to control or reason with it. Now remember, your brain has a good reason for every single thought that it offers you. So your brain is just trying to be helpful and useful. And the analogy I like to think of here with it’s not useful to control or reason with your lower brain is, let’s decide that we’re about to say goodbye, or our brain kind of knows we’re going to be saying goodbye to our family, that it’s going to be emotionally challenging and heart. Remember, your brain can’t differentiate between physical pain and emotional pain. So when you start having those thoughts like this is going to be really hard, or I don’t want to say goodbye to them, or I don’t know how I’m going to do this. And that is sort of like I picture a really like strong dog, those light poles, if you’ve ever seen those YouTube channels, where they have the dog that starts like chasing after someone who’s trying to get away, and they’re wearing one of those suits that you can’t, that dog can’t bite through. So once the police officer or whoever says, like attack, that dog is already on a path to do what it’s trying to do. It’s already full steam ahead. And for us to try to control that charging dog or try to reason with that charging dog is pretty useless. In fact, we end up kind of losing that battle, because our brain is already kind of on high alert about what is going to be happening. And if we try to talk ourselves out of it, it just doesn’t work very well. It might work for a minute, but then that dog is going to keep charging, it’s still going to go after what it’s trying to go after your brain wants you to know this message. So instead of just trying to resist that charging dog, or control it or reason with it, I was picturing how in the movies. How if there’s like a charging dinosaur or something like that. And instead we just calm down. And we like put our hands out for the dog to smell or for the dinosaur to smell and all of a sudden, that dinosaur or the actually the image that’s coming to my mind is like How to Train Your Dragon. That Dragon all of a sudden starts to calm down. So instead of fighting it which makes that charging dog or that charging dragon more strong and more intense, we just take a deep breath. And we’re like, okay, I guess, I guess I can have power over it, but I’m not going to control you. And one of the things we can do with this, a little brain hack for you, as if our brains like, it’s gonna be really, really hard to say goodbye to your family. Now, it’s gonna be really challenging, we can just be like, yeah, it might be. Notice how in that moment, our brain feels heard, it’s like the charging dog tries to start to slow down. And all of a sudden, we can have compassion, kind of PEDOT, kind of have it smell us a little bit, and then it will calm down. So number two, it’s not useful to judge the thoughts or feelings. Now the analogy that I have for this is I was talking to a client who had said goodbye to his girlfriend because she had gone to college. And he was going to college in his town where he lived. And he came on the call, and he was like, I just don’t want to feel this sad. I don’t want to think these thoughts like that. I’m gonna miss her so much. And that this is really hard. And I, and he was having other thoughts about her dating other people and things like that, see how this is all thoughts of his brain trying to avoid pain?
16:34 Okay, so then he came on the call, and he said, I don’t want to think these thoughts. I don’t like these thoughts. I wish I was feeling more strong. I wish I was feeling more independent. I wish I wasn’t feeling so concerned about her leaving. Well, again, it’s not useful to try to resist that, or to judge it. In fact, when we judge the thoughts that we’re thinking and think we shouldn’t be thinking them, those thoughts get stronger. So the analogy I shared with him, and what I want to share with you now is picture a little like younger version of yourself or a toddler, or if you can’t picture yourself as a toddler picture, maybe a niece or a nephew, who is much smaller, you know, in maybe toddler age, or a little bit older. And if they came up to you, and sort of tugged on your shirt, and said things like, Hey, this is really hard. One of my really good friends just moved to college. I don’t know how I’m going to do this. I feel really sad about this. I feel really scared. Like, what if one of my friends starts hanging out with another guy? Listen, what we wouldn’t do is we wouldn’t say to that young child, we wouldn’t say You’re ridiculous, you shouldn’t be thinking that. We wouldn’t smack it across the face and be like, That’s so dumb. Why are you doing that? Why are you thinking that way. But sometimes we do this with ourselves with our amazing brains. As we judge the way we’re thinking and feeling. And it’s just not useful. So I want you to think about what you would say to another little person that came up to you and said, the thoughts that you’re thinking, what we’d probably say is like, oh my gosh, it makes so much sense that you’re thinking that I can see why you’re kind of scared. I can see why you’re kind of worried this makes so much sense. And we wouldn’t judge it at all right? We’d probably like scooped that toddler up are that young child up? And we be like here, let me take care of you. Well, this is all going on. And so this is what we can do for ourselves. When our brain is kind of like getting like a lot of messages trying to problem solve. And instead of judging it, we can be like, oh, yeah, that makes sense. Okay. The third, not useful thing is to push the thoughts away. And this probably is my favorite analogy. This is a newer one that I came up with with one of my clients on a call this week. Your brain is a little bit neurotic. Like sometimes the things that our brain points out to us make a lot of sense and sometimes they make zero sense at all. In fact, I was listening to this other coaching call to a woman who said that it was crazy watching my brain do it it did it. because it was time to take the trash out. And what my brain offered me was like, well, we don’t want to take the trash out, we might get eaten by a bear. Right? And Nergi was like, what, like, That’s so random, especially because I live, like inner city. So anyway, it was just fascinating for her to observe her brain, giving her some crazy thing. This is how I want you to think about your brain. Another analogy is, picture it like it’s a spy. And it is going to work, like trying to think about the future about what’s coming up next, about what could be painful, emotionally, about what could be dangerous for you. And every once in a while, it gets a little bit of information. And it comes up to you and it tries to pass you a note. And it’s like, Hey, you might be a bad missionary. And picture like the spies passing you a note. But here’s the really funny part and where my client and I were just like, laughing so hard is picture though, that this spy is like your grandma or your grandpa,
21:15 who’s a little bit like, not totally, they’re okay. They’re a little bit like neurotic, they’re a little bit like pessimistic. They’re a little bit super hyper paranoid about what could happen in the future. Now, if we had our cute grandma, and she was like, in a black trench coat with a hat and some sunglasses, and she came up to me, and I already knew this about grandma that she was a little paranoid. But she was just really trying to look out for me. And she passed me a note that said, Hey, you might be a bad mom. What I’d probably do is I wouldn’t just push it away be like Grandma, get out of here. I don’t want to see the note. I don’t want to see it. We’d be like, Oh, thanks, grandma. Thanks so much. Right? And we take the note. And grandma would be like, You got to read it. You got to read it. You got to read it. And so then we’d open up the note. We’d be like, Oh, okay, Thanks, Grandma. And then we have a choice in that moment. Do we want to, like take that information from the note? Or do we want to just put it in our pocket and be like, Thanks, Grandma, you’re the best. Thanks for looking out for me. Now, sometimes grandma is gonna try to pass us a note that we might want to take into consideration that we might want to believe, but we have to remember that your amazing brain, in this analogy, your neurotic kind of paranoid grandma. She doesn’t always get it right. And we don’t always need to be afraid. But here’s what happens is if we say grandma, no, no, no, I don’t want to see that sentence that you’re offering me. Grandma will be like, no, yes, it’s super important. You need to see it. And if we were like, No, grandma, no, I can’t I can’t write. Then she would just get more incessant, and more neurotic and more paranoid. Instead, we can just be like, Okay, grandma, thanks for the no and we open it up. We’re like, Thanks, Grandma, we take a look at the note and close the note, put it in our pocket. So sometimes we just got to show our brain or quote unquote, grandma or grandpa brain that we got the message. And this can even sound like this. Like, for instance, that lesson that you’re gonna have, in a few hours with that family. I don’t know if you’re gonna do a good job. Right, grandma passes us the note. And we can take that note and make it true, and then feel really bad. Or we can just be like, Thanks for the heads up, brain thinks grandma, maybe maybe I’ll do a bad job. But we’re going to go anyway. And we can just be super grateful for a brain that gets to problem solve and keep us alive and create amazing lessons with members in the first place. Isn’t that amazing? You guys, we have this ability to think of something that we want, feel an emotion and then create it in actual, real life. So, so awesome. But your brain also just wants to keep you alive and keep you safe. So it’s not useful to control or reason with it. Try to like remember that charging dock Dog, let’s just have compassion for it and understand it and slow it down and be like, It’s okay dog, I got you. And just take a deep breath and slow it down and allow the dog to come to us and for us to come to the dock. Number two, it’s not useful to judge it. Remember the analogy of that small toddler small child that has genuine concerns, your brain has genuine concerns for your safety, for your emotional safety, and we can just snuggle that little toddler up and just say, yeah, it makes sense you feel this way. And number three, don’t, it’s not useful to push the thoughts away, it actually makes them stronger with this analogy of you’re kind of neurotic, paranoid, but cute as a button and good intentioned grandma or grandpa, they really do have a good reason for what they’re trying to share with you. And the same is true for your amazing brain. It really does want what’s best for you.
26:09 So if your brain comes online with some craziness about, like bears, as you go out to get the trash or like everyone’s going to judge you or from whatever comes online and is trying to protect you from emotional pain. We can just say, hey, brain. Thanks so much for looking out for me. You’re so amazing. But there’s no danger here today. All right, you guys. Okay, I hope this helps you so much fun thinking of those analogies. The dog, the little toddler, and your neurotic grandma or grandpa. All right, everyone have the most amazing week we will talk to you next time. Take care. Serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints can present a unique set of challenges. And many of those challenges you might not even see coming. So you’re gonna want a unique set of solutions. It’s easier than you think to overcome worry and anxiety serve the successful mission you’ve always dreamed up and navigate your post mission experience with confidence. That is why I created some amazing free goodies that I’m sharing in my show notes. Maybe you’ll want to grab the free training for preparing missionaries, my video course for RMS or maybe you and I should have on a free strategy call. If you’re ready to take your preparedness to serve or your preparedness to come home to the next level. Then go grab one of those freebies. And in the meantime, no matter which part of the mission experience you were involved in, just know that Jennie the LDS mission coach is thinking about you every single day.